Partners for 25 years, PEUGEOT, PEUGEOT Sport, Total and its subsidiary Saft have released the main technical characteristics of the powertrain that will used in their FIA WEC Hypercar. Their respective teams have pooled their experience and expertise in the fields of hybridisation and world-class motor racing to develop a powertrain (PEUGEOT HYBRID4 500KW) that complies with the new FIA WEC regulations. Its principal features are:
PEUGEOT Sport has leveraged its experience of endurance racing (V12 and V8 PEUGEOT 908s) and that of PSA Motorsport in the FIA World Rally Championship (four cylinders) to develop a new 2.6-litre, twin-turbo, 90-degree V6. Positioned behind the driver, this 500kW/680hp powerplant will tip the scales at 165kg and drive the rear wheels.
“The architecture of the PEUGEOT HYBRID4 500KW powertrain is the result of a highly-detailed brief and broadly shaped by the new FIA WEC regulations,” notes François Coudrain, PEUGEOT Sport’s WEC Programme Powertrain Director. “We initially considered a single turbo, but that would have prevented us from achieving our objective of lowering the height of the engine’s centre of gravity. A twin-turbo V6 block offers the best trade-off between weight, technology, positioning of the engine’s ancillaries, reliability and performance."
The robotised sequential seven-speed (plus reverse) gearbox will be controlled by steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and the PEUGEOT Sport-developed brake-by-wire system will also be managed electronically. The driver will be able to adjust the level of engine-braking generated by the electric motor under deceleration and the force applied by the pads to the discs to achieve the optimum electric regenerative/hydraulic braking split. Optimal energy management, both under acceleration and during energy redelivery (capped by the regulations at 200kW), will consequently be key to the car’s performance and efficiency.
The cooling fluids and engine/gearbox lubricants will play an important part in the competitivity of PEUGEOT Sport’s Hypercar which will use prototypes tailored by Total for intensive use and long life across a wide range of temperatures. Total has also developed special greases and oils that are evolutions of formula-e derived from its experience in motorsport. Total engineer will attend races as an integral part of the team to take and analyse samples with a view to monitoring the life of the car’s assemblies over time.
The PEUGEOT Sport-conceived front-mounted 200W motor generator unit will drive the front wheels and benefits from the team’s experience of developing electric motors and management systems for production cars. This knowhow has been compounded by:
“The motor generator unit will be equipped with an extremely lightweight, high-efficiency reducer and a latest-generation inverter to transfer battery power to the motor,” says François Coudrain. “It will have the capacity to use all the energy available in the battery instantly thanks notably to the powertrain’s energy strategy management system. PSA Motorsport’s experience of the WRC and Formula E will contribute to the development of the software employed to manage the computer and energy systems [braking energy recovery, power under acceleration, reduced energy-consumption].”
The high-density, high-power and high-voltage battery was developed jointly by PEUGEOT Sport and Saft, a Total subsidiary. With over 10 years of experience in F1 and based on PEUGEOT Sport specifications, Saft’s engineers selected the best type of cells for the battery which favours energy capacity over power, in accordance with the needs of endurance racing. As one of the key elements of the car’s performance, the battery will be completely integrated inside the car and in the powertrain’s energy-management process.
“The main parameter will be to optimise how the energy stored in the battery is used,” explains Kamen Nechev, Saft’s Chief Technology Officer. “To achieve this, you need an extremely short charge-time combined with high-capacity storage cells to form a package that enables maximum power to be delivered as rapidly as possible. The most competitive solution resides in the management of charge optimisation and the amount of power available in real time.”
The new battery will be located in a carbon holder inside the car’s monocoque structure, behind the driver and underneath the fuel tank. It has been designed to combine optimal longevity with consistent performance during races of durations of up to 24 hours, and even beyond. Total is responsible for the homologation of the battery which will be assembled in a new bespoke department at PEUGEOT Sport’s Versailles-Satory base, near Paris.
PEUGEOT Sport’s collaboration with Total on the FIA WEC programme fits perfectly with the operational guidelines and responsibility-split outlined in the plan for Automotive Cells Company, a joint venture which seeks to become Europe’s number one battery manufacturer for electric vehicles.
Although the internal combustion engine delivers 500kW (680hp) and the motor generator unit has a capacity of 200kW (272hp), the regulations set a maximum power output of just 500kW during races. To adapt to the different situations encountered in races, the LMH powertrain functions as follows:
The following exceptions are covered by the regulations, however:
As required by the regulations, the Hypercar will be equipped with specific sensors to monitor and transmit data concerning the power levels measured at all four wheels to the FIA in real time so that it may check that the maximum output specified by the Balance of Performance (BoP) is adhered to.
Before the track-testing programme begins at the end of 2021, PEUGEOT Sport and Total will continue their development work which is expected to see the powertrain run on the bench and simulator in the course of the first half of 2021.
While motorsport serves as a full-scale laboratory for the testing of new technologies, the experience of PEUGEOT and Groupe PSA in the field of electrified vehicles has enabled PEUGEOT Sport to benefit from other synergies, including close collaboration between road-car and racing powertrain engineers on the development of assembles and individual components.
PEUGEOT Sport employs a number of engineers who, like François Coudrain, have had the opportunity to apply their expertise to both mass-production road models and race cars in the course of their career. This unique, valued knowhow feeds into the overall knowledge pool behind the PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED line, the first fruit of which was the PEUGEOT 508 PEUGEOT SPORT ENGINEERED. This version of the PEUGEOT 508 (360 horsepower/520Nm/WLTP CO2 emissions: 46g/km) embodies the brand’s new Neo-Performance virtuous performance concept and offers a perfect blend of advanced technology and sporting pedigree. It is the most powerful PEUGEOT road car ever made and its PEUGEOT Sport-engineered systems are a source of inspiration for the FIA WEC programme.
Last but not least, the policy of sharing information between Groupe PSA’s different motorsport departments has paid ample dividends, too, notably in terms of on-board control units and software, especially in the area of powertrain energy management (energy recovery under braking, power output under acceleration and reduced energy consumption).
Still images and video animation of the PEUGEOT-Total LMH Hypercar’s powertrain available at PEUGEOT Sport’s media website: https://media.peugeot-sport.com/
PEUGEOT Sport: Pioneering race-performance again
“Thanks to the commitment and passion that drives everyone at PEUGEOT SPORT, the motorsport division of PEUGEOT has enjoyed success at the very highest level in numerous types of motorsport. Inspired by our heritage and expertise in the field of hybridisation, we are returning to the prestigious, exacting FIA World Endurance Championship with an LMH car in 2022.”
Total is a broad energy Group, which produces and markets fuels, natural gas and electricity. Our 100,000 employees are committed to better energy that is safer, more affordable, cleaner and accessible to as many people as possible. Active in more than 130 countries, our ambition is to become the responsible energy major.
Saft specializes in advanced technology battery solutions for industry, from design and development to production, customization and service provision. For 100 years, Saft’s longerlasting batteries and systems have provided critical safety applications, back-up power and propulsion for our customers. Our innovative, safe and reliable technology delivers high performance on land, at sea, in the air and in space. Saft is powering industry and smarter cities, while providing critical back-up functionality in remote and harsh environments like the Arctic Circle and the Sahara Desert. Saft is a wholly-owned affiliate of Total.